The Fourth Great Lie

The view from our campsite

The view from our campsite

It can’t possibly rain any harder.

That’s the fourth great lie. It ranks right up there with “I’ll still respect you in the morning,” “It’s only a coldsore,” and “I only drank two beers, officer.”

It was a miserable March weekend — very much like this one — when I uttered those immortal words, “It can’t possibly rain any harder.”

It did.

I was standing under the tarp at our campsite on Lake Fork of the Mohican River, waiting for my buddy Joe to show up. I didn’t have to work that day. Knowing it was going to rain, I got an early start so I could set up camp before the monsoon hit. When Joe arrived, which happened to be right at suppertime, the river was close to overrunning its banks.

By the time we were ready to call it a night, the river was 30 feet from our tents. We packed everything except our tents and bedrolls and put it all our canoes, which we tethered to trees.

I woke up at about four in the morning to take a leak. I stumbled out of my tent, took three steps and let it rip. I was hitting water!

“Wake up,” I yelled. “We’ve got to move.”

Joe responds to a strange apparition in the sky — the sun. (This photo was not taken during our March canoe trip.)

Joe responds to a strange apparition in the sky — the sun. (This photo was not taken during our March canoe trip.)

Without stirring from his tent, Joe grumbled, “I’m not into being told what to do.”

He had a change of heart when he heard me dragging my tent to higher ground.

We decided to sleep till dawn, pack up our tents and head downriver.

We lay inside our tents, eyes wide open, anxiously awaiting the first sign of daylight.

“I think I hear birds chirping,” Joe said.

“Those are frogs,” I told him. “It won’t be light for another hour.”

I finally dozed off, only to be awakened by the sound of water sloshing beneath the tent floor. It wasn’t quite daybreak, but we broke camp anyway and headed downstream.

It was still raining and the river had come up another five feet when we pulled out at Mohican Wilderness Campground on the mainstream of the Mohican River. We pitched camp atop an abandoned railroad embankment, dove into our tents and slept until dark.

They say lost time is never found. I’ve said the same thing about sleep. But, on that day, we managed.






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